IT has been a terrific start, but there is still much to be done. The fundraising efforts inspired by Sir Bobby Robson have mirrored his cherished club’s attempt to get back into the Premier League.
A year since Sacriston-born Robson launched his charity foundation for the early detection and treatment of cancer in the North, over £2m has been raised.
Inspired by Sir Bobby’s charisma, the total quickly topped £1m, shooting up again after his death in July. Robson’s former goalkeeper Steve Harper is anxious not to see it tail off now its inspiration has gone.
“When Sir Bobby started the foundation the fundraising came in at an incredible rate,” said Harper at the foundation’s research centre in Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital. “Just to look around this fantastic unit, the trials and research centre makes you realise the job is not done yet.
“(Prof) Ruth (Plummer, director of the centre) told me it is important people realise there is a lot of work still to be done. We have the facilities but a way must be found to continue to fund the research to find a cure for cancer, a disease that affects so many people – one in three.
“It is imperative people know the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation still needs their support.” Harper is pleased the rebuilding of Newcastle United’s reputation has begun, but it is not finished yet. “Sir Bobby was a really big part of Newcastle United for five years or so,” he added. “He was as disappointed as we all were at relegation. I am sure he will be looking down on this unit, seeing it celebrating its first birthday and seeing what a fantastic facility it is.
“He would be just as pleased to see us top of the league but demanding we stay there until the end of the season.
“People say the Championship is a marathon and they are spot on. Having been relegated last season you are going to be one of the favourites to go straight back up but it is very tough.”